TesseracT’s upcoming album Polaris (Sept. 18 on Kscope in partnership with eOne Music) would have put the worlds of progressive music and metal on standby even if original singer Dan Thompkins hadn’t returned to the fold in 2014, replacing Ashe O’Hara. The latter’s soaring vocals was one of the masterful touches that made 2013’s Altered State a favorite among critics that year, along with its imaginative songwriting, musical vitality and first-rate execution.
O’Hara’s commendable contributions aside, there’s no sense of awkward reunion surrounding Thompkins’ return as TesseracT’s frontman. He sounds quite comfortable on the new album’s first focus track, “Messenger,” his emphatic voice casting outward like a fly reel. Watch the lyric video for the track, which Billboard is premiering exclusively below.
“‘Messenger’ felt like a very natural track to light the fire with,” bassist Amos Williams says of why the British prog-metal band decided to introduce Polaris with the song. “It’s got that big, soaring chorus and musical zenith that has become synonymous with the TesseracT vibe, but is also quite punchy. So as a key for the door to Polaris, it makes a lot of sense.” ? ?
Thompkins adds, “ ‘Messenger’ sets the tone for the album. Each song highlights and addresses important everyday issues within society, but also questions the direction of humanity. As a song, ‘Messenger’ is a stand-out track not only lyrically, but sonically, as the production takes a deliberate twist from to the rest of Polaris.”?
Lyrically, the song focuses on the concept of the timeless adage “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Thompkins says TesseracT explored the topic because ?“the daily news we’re typically subjected to can often leave us feeling bitter, negative and apathetic. We’ve all experienced this. As the album questions the nature of ‘truth,’ ‘Messenger’ questions the truth behind the agenda of those who control what we see and hear in the media. The notion of social conditioning needs confidence to confront and is a perspective that few of us are willing to find.” ? ?
Asked what the message is that certain people don’t want to hear, and who in particular is shooting the messenger, Amos says, ?“The concept of the album title, Polaris, is simple. It is about the transient nature of universal truth. There is no such thing as an absolute fixed human concept that will forever be the truth. Perhaps that is a message most of us can’t — or don’t want to — listen to?”